Spoilers are ahead for Halo season 2, episode 5, “Aleria.”




  • Halo
    season 2, episode 5 teases Ackerson’s Spartan-III program on Onyx, setting up a major storyline for the future.
  • The Spartan-III soldiers are designed to be cheap and expendable, making them both replacements for and rivals to Master Chief and Halsey’s Spartan-IIs.
  • The new soldiers deepen the rift between Master Chief and the UNSC, isolating John and setting the stage for thrilling

The final moments of Halo season 2, episode 5, “Aleria,” finally teases James Ackerson’s (Joseph Morgan) secret project: the Spartan-IIIs. While viewers get a fleeting glimpse of Master Chief’s (Pablo Schreiber) replacement soldiers in the fifth episode, all signs point to episode 6, the aptly titled “Onyx,” delving into the details of Ackerson’s Spartan-III program. It’s no secret that the Halo TV series has carved out a standalone narrative within the larger franchise. Although the Paramount+ show takes inspiration from the core canon of the games and novels, its events unfold within the distinct Silver Timeline.

Even so, Halo‘s core canon has provided plenty of worthwhile hints when it comes to the sophomore outing’s trajectory. James Ackerson, who was introduced as Halsey’s replacement, insisted he wasn’t promoted to the role to “dismantle” Dr. Halsey’s (Natascha McElhone) work. Of course, his actions tell a different story: moments before Halo season 2’s Fall of Reach, Ackerson quietly flees the planet. From subtly turning Kai-125 (Kate Kennedy) against the Chief to stealing Silver Team’s armor and leaving them for dead, Ackerson has put quite the scheme into motion — and it all revolves around his Spartan-III program.


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Halo Season 2, Episode 5 Teases James Ackerson’s Spartan-III Program On Onyx

At the end of “Aleria,” the episode cuts away from John-117 (Schreiber) and his allies to reveal where Kai was during the Fall of Reach. Unsurprisingly, the former member of Silver Team ditched her soldiers-in-arms to join Ackerson on Onyx. Outfitted in armor, Kai walks the halls of the UNSC’s base on Onyx with purpose. Outside, Kai dons her helmet and looks out over a plaza filled with Spartan-IIIs. In Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, Ackerson underscores the purpose of his Spartan-III program: “Make the units better… Make more of them. And make them cheaper.

To ONI, trading lives for time is a worthwhile strategy in the Human-Covenant War.

When Halo season 2 delves into who Julia Ackerson is — James’ sister was abducted by Halsey for the Spartan-II program but didn’t survive the augmentation process — it becomes clear that James has dedicated himself to derailing Halsey’s work. Intended to be the next generation of supersoldiers, Spartan-IIIs aren’t (initially) genetically modified, allowing for a larger pool of candidates to become Spartan-IIIs than Spartan-IIs. To ONI, trading lives for time is a worthwhile strategy in the Human-Covenant War. As in the core canon, Spartan-IIIs are trained on the little-known, ONI-controlled Onyx.


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What ONI’s Spartan-III Soldiers Mean For The Halo TV Show’s Future

Kai (Kate Kennedy) addresses Perez (Cristina Rodlo) and other UNSC soldiers in Halo season 2

Designed to be both cheap and expendable, the Spartan-IIIs aren’t just Master Chief’s replacements, but his rivals — born of Ackerson’s rivalry with Halsey. With what happened to Cobalt Team at Visegrád, the Spartan-II’s already-small numbers were dwindling. As of episode 5, Vannak-134 (Bentley Kalu) has died; Riz-028 (Natasha Culzac) has retired; and Kai has joined Ackerson’s endeavors. Even John is left questioning his purpose — is he a weapon or a human? — in the wake of the Covenant invasion of Reach. Ackerson succeeded in undermining Halsey, creating quite an opening for his supersoldiers.

With Halo season 2, episode 6 being titled “Onyx,” it’s clear that Ackerson’s Spartan-III program will take center stage. The new breed of soldier not only deepens the rift between Master Chief and the UNSC, but further isolates John. This primes him to be the lone-wolf hero of Halo‘s core canon, and forces his uneasy alliance with Halsey, Cortana (Jen Taylor; Christina Bennington), and others he might not have otherwise trusted. While Onyx’s deeper importance and secret Forerunner connection has yet to be explored, the introduction of the Spartan-IIIs set the stage for several thrilling Halo threads.


season 2’s finale airs on March 21, 2024.

  • Halo Season 2 Hero Showing Master Chief carrying a fallen soldier on the battle field


    Release Date:

    Jen Taylor, Bokeem Woodbine, Charlie Murphy, Shabana Azmi, Kate Kennedy, Natascha McElhone, Yerin Ha, Bentley Kalu, Pablo Schreiber, Danny Sapani, Olive Gray, Natasha Culzac

    Adventure, Sci-Fi, Action


    Kyle Killen, Silka Luisa, Richard Robbins, Steven Kane, Justine Juel Gillmer


    Otto Bathurst, Jonathan Liebesman, Roel Reiné, Dennie Gordon, Debs Paterson, Craig Zisk, Jessica Lowrey

    Kyle Killen

    Kyle Killen, Steven Kane

    Where To Watch:

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